Nancy Pelosi backs sending $1,200 payments to most Americans in next Covid relief bill

‘That’s really more up to the president, if he would be agreeable to do that … we’re all for it’

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 08 December 2020 19:18 GMT
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has backed $1,200 checks being sent to most Americans as part of the next congressional relief package surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, telling reporters “we’re all for it” and adding she hoped President Donald Trump would be "agreeable" to the second round of stimulus payments.

“I hope so,” the California Democrat told reporters about the possibility of including a second wave of direct payments to the majority of American taxpayers, adding: “But that’s really more up to the president, if he would be agreeable to do that, but we’re all for it.”

Republicans have largely shot down Democrats’ calls to include the direct payments in the next recovery bill, already estimated to include more than $900 billion in relief efforts surrounding the pandemic.

Businesses remain shuttered across the country as millions remain unemployed due to the novel virus that has already killed over 280,000 people nationwide since the outbreak began earlier this year.

The calls for direct payments to Americans were reignited this week as lawmakers met to pass a funding bill that would avert a government shutdown for another week, as well as to negotiate the next sweeping coronavirus relief bill.

Both the House speaker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were seeking to include the Covid-19 relief efforts in a spending bill amounting to an estimated $1.4 trillion, though it would require the president’s sign off to take effect — something Ms Pelosi was keen to note on Tuesday afternoon.

The inclusion of direct payments has support from both sides of the aisle, though it remained unclear where the White House stood on the issue, as it could add billions more to the federal omnibus package. 

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri told Politico he had lobbied Mr Trump in a phone call on Saturday to veto any coronavirus aid bill that does not contain a second tranche of checks to Americans.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told reporters Tuesday he favored the idea and was seeking support from other senators.

But many Republicans have been hesitant to support anything that increases the price tag. McConnell favors a smaller, $500 billion measure and has said Mr Trump would sign that.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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